LED Adoption Brightens with Hybrid Capacitor Technology

Despite their long lifespans, low energy usage and bright lights, light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have yet to attain widespread adoption. A recent Consumer Reports study reveals that high cost deters consumers from LED bulbs. To stimulate LED adoption, manufacturers of technologies using LED lighting face the challenge of extending product life without driving up costs. Ultracapacitors and hybrid capacitors, which combine an ultracapacitor with a lithium-ion battery, help improve LED technology without a significant price increase.

LED-runtime-300x201.jpg

Runtime versus capacitance for different LED Lumen outputs
Assumes ultracapacitor is rated to 2.7 V and discharged to 1.35 V,
a LED efficiency of 100 Lumens per Watt and a driver
(power supply) efficiency of 85 percent

 

For off-grid LED-based products, the only option available in the past was rechargeable batteries, which are not ideal in extreme hot or cold conditions. Though LED products can last up to 10 years, the battery’s short lifespan requires the entire lighting unit to be replaced when the battery dies. Ultracapacitors overcome the challenges faced by batteries. Ultracaps’ long lifespan and high power density provide several hours of lighting to an LED in a compact size in either heat or cold. Hybrid capacitors also have a high cycle life and actually cut maintenance costs by allowing LEDs to go longer without replacement until the bulb itself burns out.

The similarities between ultracapacitors and LEDs make them the ideal pair in various applications. LEDs require very little energy to operate and ultracapacitors are low energy density devices. Both LEDs and ultracaps have long lifespans. In cold temperature operations, LEDs are the best electrical light source while ultracapacitors are the best power source. And most importantly for driving consumer mass adoption, both technologies have seen dramatic price cuts since 2000.

The added value of using ultracapacitors or hybrid capacitors in LED-based products—minimal maintenance, reduced waste and a greener product—offset the already declining price. Two separate studies show that LED prices are on their way down. Lux Research predicts $11 bulbs by 2020, and Groom Energy and Greentech Media’s joint report shows a 24 percent drop in LED prices over the past two years. Thanks to ultracapacitor technology, adoption of LEDs will rise among consumers seeking an energy- and cost-efficient light source.

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